American in Russia sentenced to 10 days in jail for breaking into children’s library

An American man in Russia on a six-month tourist visa working as an English instructor was sentenced to 10 days in jail for reportedly breaking into a children’s library while drunk, according to state news agency RIA-Novosti on Tuesday. William Nycum was found in the library Friday after breaking a window to gain entry, the Associated Press reported. Russian newspaper Izvestia says there is CCTV footage capturing Nycum partially naked breaking into the children’s library, according to British publication Nycum was staying with acquaintances during his time in Russia, although it is unclear His arrest for hooliganism charges comes at a time of heightened tension between Russia and the United States centering on Russia’s war in Ukraine, and increasing concern about Americans detained in Russia.On Monday, U.S. officials said American soldier Staff Sgt. Gordon Black, 34, also had been detained in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok on charges of stealing from a Russian girlfriend whom he met while stationed in South Korea.Black was in the process of returning home to Fort Cavazos, Texas. Instead, officials said, Black – who is married – traveled to Russia to see a longtime girlfriend.According to officials, the Russian woman had lived in South Korea, and last fall she and Black got into some type of domestic dispute or altercation. After that, she left South Korea. It isn’t clear if she was forced to leave or what, if any, role Korean authorities had in the matter.Officials also said that Black, an infantry soldier, did not tell his unit that he was going to Russia, and did not receive any authorization to go there. They said he was essentially on leave, as he left Korea to redeploy back home to Fort Cavazos.It’s unclear, however, if U.S. service members are specifically prohibited from traveling to Russia, although the State Department strongly advises U.S. citizens not to go.Corporate security executive Paul Whelan, who was convicted of espionage, and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in March 2023 on espionage charges, are two Americans held by Russia. The U.S. government has designated both as wrongfully detained and has been trying to negotiate their release.Others detained include Travis Leake, a musician who had been living in Russia for years and was arrested last year on drug-related charges; Marc Fogel, a teacher in Moscow who was sentenced to 14 years in prison, also on drug charges; and dual nationals Alsu Kurmasheva and Ksenia Khavana.